Saturday, January 16, 2010

YOUNG AT HEART CHORUS

Last night I happened upon a program on PBS after Bill Moyer which featured a chorus of “Old Geezers” calling themselves the “ Young at Heart Chorus”. The members of this chorus began from an Old People’s Rest Home from somewhere in Massachusetts back in the 1980’s and have become famous and sought after entertainment all over the world. In this program, all members were over 80 years old. One lady who began the program was 91. You want to know what they sing?Elevator music? Old folk songs? Opera? Nope, they sang famous rock and roll songs with a lively kick and beat. Beatle songs, Jim Croce songs, and of course “May you always be young at heart.” And they were good. If one came to hear them expecting weak and wavering voices, they were greeted with whoops and a marvelous rendition of intricate passages of these old famous favorite songs.

The program followed them along a year of rehearsal until the final concert on stage with the huge auditorium filled with old and young—all delighted at what they saw and heard. Most all of it were fun songs but there was one was sad one. This gentleman had promised this one man who had a lead part in one song to sing it for him if he died as he was in his fourth bout of chemo. He did die and this man—very obese with a breathing tube attached to his nose and hardly able to walk to the chair sat and sang a lovely song in his memory with such emotion and such a beautiful bass voice ending with “I will fix you” The audience stood up and gave him such an ovation crying right along with him.

The interviews with various members in between were revealing. All thought singing kept them alive longer than many of them were expected to. Several had had last rites and they joked about not seeing the white light. Their main purpose in life had become getting to the rehearsals and the joy they experienced when the audience loved them. They loved to perform.

My message here is not only to tell you about this wonderful chorus, but to emphasize their message which is to live each day and have a purpose to live for up until the very end. Be active and engaged in life. Don't just wait to die. For me, it was a very powerful message, but I think it should be for all no matter how old. It is a good lesson.

If you want to learn more about this group, google Young at Heart Chorus.

14 comments:

RNSANE said...

Hi Bernie, great, encouraging post, live life to the fullest till you head for the happy hunting ground or wherever you're headed ( I hope it's someplace that makes you happy! ). I'll have to look up this group! They are remarkablel

Wanda said...

A lesson to have a little passion for something while living your life. Positive feelings and enjoyment is what I get when I visit here Bernie!

Wander to the Wayside said...

I saw a documentary of this group on one of the news programs (like 20/20), and was very moved by it. They were awesome, and it was such a surprise when they broke into song!

Gail said...

So true!

Bernie said...

Oh yes Bernie, having a purpose in one's life is everything.....a reason to get up each day with a smile looking forward to what it holds......wonderful post my friend, you are such an inspiration to all of us....Hugs

Von said...

Missed you Bernie!!! great post and such a true message.

June said...

I have known many "old people" who were so busy and involved, with their homeowner obligations or with social networks, that I have joked with them that they'll never die because they won't be still long enough.
I can well imagine that singing, of all things, would lengthen a life and improve its quality.
I think if I had seen the song ending in "I will fix you," I would be a drippy mess...

Deb Shucka said...

Lovely story with a lovely message. I want to live with gusto until my last breath leaves my body.

lakeviewer said...

Great post. Live on, singing and dancing and kicking our heels. Life is too precious to wait around.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Several had had last rites and they joked about not seeing the white light."

I thought this sentence most interesting. As if, a snub almost, that even though old, they had much to offer and enjoy.

Enjoyed this post very much. Those in the chorus live life. How much fun is that?

Oz Girl said...

I am going to google this Bernie, and I hope I can catch it on TV!

I would love to have my gramma watch it -- she is 93 and not doing as well lately. I visited her in Ohio a few weeks ago - she insisted on going home (she was in hospital first, then a nursing home), so we conceded and got her situated at home. A home care worker is going there 3x week, and she has several friends (and my son) who stop by also. So far, she is going ok, but I fear she has perhaps become disengaged with life.

So I think this story would be wonderful for her to watch also!

Anita said...

Thank you Bernie for passing that story and message along to us. At 52, I am already aware of how important it is too LIVE - not just to breathe and exist, but to live, like the people in that chorus.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

I found your blog through Ladybird World Mother.

I once met an old man while hiking on one of the most rugged and difficult sections of the Appalachian Trail. He was about 85 years old, hiking by himself, and he stopped and ate lunch with me. We chatted for awhile, and then as we parted ways, he turned back to me and said, "Live life every day until it kills you."

I've never forgotten his words of wisdom.

JediSecurity said...

Bernie, You look great! My grandmother would ride jetskis until she was 95!

Love the blog

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